Not for Government to decide on what farmers do with their land

March 18th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has scotched calls for a moratorium on dairy conversions in the Waikato.

Guy was unavailable to be interviewed, but in a statement said while discussions on the issue were welcomed: “I don’t believe we are close to needing a moratorium.”

Regional councils made decisions on consents and the Waikato Regional Council had approved the plans so obviously they were comfortable with the plans and the environmental impacts, he said.

Waikato Federated Farmers president Chris Lewis asked about the need for a moratorium and debate on further dairy conversions at the organisation’s recent monthly executive meeting.

He raised the issue citing concerns over water quality and availability and the cost of meeting tight new rules. The sector, which underpins the regional economy through a $4.2 billion annual contribution and more than 10,000 direct jobs, has grown dramatically, adding 270,000 more dairy cows in the past five years.

Lewis won support from the Greens and industry commentators.

In a free country, it is land owners who decide what they do with their land – not the Government. The thought of the Government deciding who is allowed or not allowed to be a dairy farmer is what I’d expect in the old USSR, not NZ.

Now it is quite appropriate for central and local government to have regulations around environmental impacts of activities, and also to regulate water access. And this already happens. But to have the Government just declare by fiat that no more farms can convert to dairy is ridiculous.

Guy said the issue should be the overall environmental footprint, not just the number of farms or cows.

“New conversions have to meet the toughest environmental standards – higher than for existing farms. They have to fence all waterways and have environmental management plans.

He said the industry had made huge strides in recent years with more than 90 per cent of dairy waterways fenced off.

Exactly. You regulate impacts, not inputs. If a land owner wants to convert to dairy and can meet the environmental standards, they have that right. They should not need permission of a Government.


Greens trying their best to scaremonger and destroy the dairy industry

December 20th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Milk from farms used as dumps for drilling waste will be tested for toxins, but the Green Party is calling for more widespread testing of Taranaki animal products.

The Green Party has previously called on Fonterra to stop taking milk from cows grazing on the farms in Taranaki where oil and fracking waste had been spread.

The party said the milk was unsafe and could threaten the reputation of New Zealand’s dairy industry.

The Taranaki Regional Council has previously dismissed the claims as scaremongering. The farms where the waste was spread were quarantined then underwent extensive testing before cattle were put back on them, it said.

One just has to hope that people overseas don’t take the Greens any more seriously than most people in NZ do.

I’m all for testing, but when a party claims that milk must be stopped even after testing has been done, they are just scaremongering.

Tags: ,

Best terms of trade in 40 years

December 2nd, 2013 at 2:52 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

New Zealand’s merchandise terms of trade rose 7.5 percent in the September 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The latest increase was due to export prices for goods rising more than import prices.

“Dairy export prices helped lift the terms of trade to their highest level since 1973,” prices manager Chris Pike said. “Both the terms of trade and export prices have been on the rise since the start of this year, reflecting higher dairy prices.”

Terms of trade is a measure of the purchasing power of New Zealand’s exports abroad. An increase means New Zealand can buy more imports for the same amount of exports.

In the latest quarter, the price of exported goods rose 8.9 percent, while seasonally adjusted export volumes fell 2.1 percent. Both price and volume movements were strongly influenced by dairy products.

In the September 2013 quarter, dairy export prices rose 24 percent to their highest level since 2008, and are now 46 percent higher than a year ago. Seasonally adjusted dairy export volumes fell 2.7 percent, which is the fourth consecutive quarterly fall. Seasonally adjusted dairy product values rose 20 percent, following a 4.7 percent fall in the June 2013 quarter.

So which political party wants NZ to doubly decimate our dairy herd (reduce it by 20%) in order to fight climate change? I wonder how many votes know Green party policy is to reduce NZ’s dairy herd by 20%, at a time that dairy prices are giving us the best terms of trade in 40 years. It’s almost an economic suicide note.

Tags: , ,

Are we ready for growth?

October 21st, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Lian Dann writes in NZ Herald:

New Zealanders need to brace themselves for an economic boom.

It sounds crazy because good growth sure beats a recession, but after five years in the doldrums we may not be prepared for the strength of the rebound that economists are now tipping.

Next year the country will be “firing on all cylinders”, says Paul Bloxham, HSBC’s Sydney-based chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, in his latest report.

Bloxham is confident that we’ll be booming next year with GDP growth headed for 3 per cent and beyond.

His report, titled New Zealand’s boom, sets the tone for the way the rest of the world is starting to look at us.

Last week ANZ economist Cameron Bagrie noted that latest business and consumer confidence surveys were so strong they pointed to economic growth of around 4 per cent by early 2014. 

Bagrie was sceptical about that happening and suggested the economy might “blow a gasket” if it were to accelerate so fast.

But he concluded that New Zealand could be on track for GDP growth above 3 per cent, putting us amongst the strongest performers in the OECD. “It’s been a long time since New Zealand can claim such rock star status,” he said.

Even the IMF expects the growth to pick up to 2.9 per cent next year – ahead of the our Western trading partners (including Australia) and not far behind Asian nations like South Korea and Singapore.

I have to say it would be a nice problem to have! I’d rather have too strong growth than too weak growth!

So why the predictions for strong growth?

The reasons we’re on the up are simple. Dairy prices have stayed at record high through a period of concern about Chinese growth which caused hard commodity prices to fall. Meanwhile, we are on track for record dairy production. That’s a huge boost to an economy that gets about 20 per cent of its income from cows.

Then there is the Christchurch rebuild, which should be kicking into top gear and boosting domestic activity.

I am not sure it is correct to say we get 20% of our income from cows. Dairy does represent around 20% of exports but that is only around 3% of GDP, and I think most people would regard a reference to national income as being GDP not exports.

Tags: ,

The sectors some on the left want to close down

September 5th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The oil, gas and mining sector is the most productive sector in the economy, with workers earning an average of $105,000 a year and generating $333 for each hour worked, a government report shows.

Yet this is the sector that the Greens and some in Labour want to close down. We have Labour leadership candidates saying they want higher wages yet opposing anything that allows for more drilling or mining.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said oil and mineral exports, excluding coal, were worth $2.8 billion last year.

That’s almost as much as the promises made by the leadership candidates this week!

“If we want more and better-paying jobs and more money to invest in our schools and hospitals, then we need to keep making the most of our abundant energy and minerals potential through environmentally responsible development,” Joyce said.

Or we can just print money!

However, the government report shows the petroleum and minerals sector, including gold, coal and aggregates, generates $333 an hour worked based on the GDP for the sector divided by the number of hours paid. That compares with the average of just $48 for each hour worked.

And workers are paid on average $105,000 a year – more than twice the New Zealand average.

Filthy rich pricks! Tax them more!

Also in the Dom Post:

Driven by booming dairy prices, New Zealand’s terms of trade raced up almost 5 per cent in the June quarter as export prices rose at the same time as import prices dipped.

Another sector many on the left claim is bad for New Zealand and must not be allowed to expand!

It was the largest quarterly rise in the terms of trade in two years, as dairy prices rose 14 per cent in the June quarter.

More filthy rich pricks!

Tags: ,